The Order Of Respect

The formula for a healthy society is to honor all men, fear God, honor the king, servants subject to their bosses. We must do our work with the idea of serving God in all we do.

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:17, 1 Peter 2:13


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes I wait for you to answer ‘cause I know many of you do, bless your heart. We sort of belong, don’t we? Even though we can’t see each other, and we’re separated by many miles — half a continent or more — still we’re together at the throne of grace, in worship and in praise, and in enjoying the inerrant Word of God, the Bible day by day. What a privilege that is! Though sundered far, by faith we meet around one common mercy seat. Blessed be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love. I’m glad for that, aren’t you? Hallelujah! Well, thanks for being there.

Look with me then at 1 Peter 2. We’ve gotten down to the last part of verse 17, “Honor the King.” Now incidentally if you look back to verse 13, he said, “Submit to the king.” This is a different word. To submit means ‘do what you’re told’. To honor means ‘to place a person or thing in a, a place of pre-eminence,’ special attention. And in the case of a person, special appreciation.

Now little later on, Peter admits that not everybody is as good as you and I, you know. “Servants,” he said, “you, you need to obey your masters, not only the good and the gentle, but also to the froward. That word ‘froward’ is a word, an old English word that means just impossible, nothing’s ever right. So he admits that people differ. But in this matter of the authority of a person who is placed over me — an authority — he said, “Honor the King.”

I think in our time we have gotten away from appreciating the value of, of, of the office. We have learned to speak lightly, sarcastically, mockingly, about everyone in office, right straight up to the president of the country. And over in, in other countries you’ll find the same development taking place: people are critical of the, of the methods and the character, and the private lives and the public pronouncements of their rulers. And this I suppose is what we would say, “Well that’s democracy. That’s giving the people a right to speak up.”

Our Declaration of Independence included the right of free assembly and free petition to the government. Now it’s one thing to say, “I’m not satisfied with the way things are going, please change it.” It’s another thing to say, “The person or persons in charge are scurrilous rascals, dishonest, not worthy of trust, and so on and so on…

And he says, “Honor the King.” Now he may not be such a wonderful person. We don’t have kings in our country. Royalty is not something that we practice here. There are a few monarchs remaining in our world — not many. But we have a President, and a vice-President. And we have other elected officers. And all I’m pleading for here is that you take a second look beloved, at your attitude toward people in authority. Are they folk to be dodged? Are they people to be criticized and mocked? Or, are they people for whom we ought to pray?

In another passage we are told to pray for kings and for all that are in authority — pray for them. How long has it been since you prayed for Gorbachev? How long has it, has it been since you prayed for Deng Xiaoping, there in China? Or President Lee in Taiwan — a, a wonderful Christian brother whom I’ve met personally. How long has it been since you prayed for these folk who have in their hands the reins of power, and the responsibility that goes with it? How long since you prayed for President Bush and Vice President Quayle, and for the members of Congress? For the governor of your state, and the mayor of your city, and the chief of police — just to name a few?

This matter of honoring people in authority means appreciate them for their office. Think of them as valuable human beings; pray for them, cooperate with them so far as you can within the parameters of your Christian faith. You want to think about that in your own life? It gives me pause I must admit, when I start to wonder how much I personally — Bob Cook — have prayed for these folk who hold the very reins of the world’s history in their hands. I’m so busy praying that God’ll see me through today. How about you?

Well, let’s widen our horizon a little, and let’s begin to pray and intercede for folk like this, who certainly deserve our prayers by virtue of the awesome responsibility which they carry. “Honor them,” says God. “Honor all men. Love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the King.” Do you realize that in those four short sentences, you have a beautiful formula for a society that works well. You start at the broad base — honor all men. Every human being you meet is of value to God, and also it will develop to you. Love the brotherhood. A special place of appreciation for those who are part of the body of Christ. Don’t fight them, love them.

Fear God. The reverential awe and trust that you and I exhibit toward Almighty God colors our actions and our attitudes. Then he says, “Honor the King” — our attitude toward stated authority. You have a very, a very short but powerful formula for a healthy society. Now he says, servants — now that’s again the — I believe it’s a Greek word doulos— ‘slaves’. We don’t have slaves today, thank God. But we did have, and we’re still feeling — some of you know by experience — still feeling the, the results and the, the backwash of that dreadful practice.

But you and I may change that word to ‘employees’. And it’ll make just as much sense now as it mad when they used the word ‘slaves’ centuries ago. Employees, what are you supposed to do? Well, you are supposed to be obedient, you are supposed to be obedient to your master. Not only the good masters, but those who aren’t all that good, see? Not only the good ones, but those that aren’t all that good. That’s a pretty hard, hard of, of, it’s, it’s an order that’s hard to obey, isn’t it? I, I don’t like to be kicked around. I don’t like to be criticized. I don’t like to have, have people blame me for something I didn’t do. Huh? You feel that way yourself? I guess you do.

Well, what do you do about it? You remember first of all that you’re a Christian. One is your master, even Christ is the reminder. “Ye serve the Lord, Christ.” Then the second thing is you remember that wages are not simply in the here and now, but you are working toward eternity. “Knowing that of the Lord, ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance.” Pay day is coming just as surely as God‘s Word has promised it. “Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me to give every man according as his work shall be,” says the Bible.

Pay day is coming, God said so. He said, “You’re working for me, not for John Smith or John Doe.” You’re working for Jesus. So you do what you do for Him, right? And then you come into this, this passage in 1 Peter. And he says, “If, if you’re scolded,” — that word ‘buffet’ means ‘they hit you’ — if you’re scolded for your faults, why there’s no, there’s no glory in that. But if when you do well and suffer for it, you take it patiently. “This is acceptable with God, for even hereunto where you’re called.”

“Now come on brother Cook, am I called to, am I called to put up with, with, with wrong accusations, and lack of appreciation, and criticism that I don’t deserve on the job? Is that my calling?” No, no, you’re called to be patient. If when you do well and suffer for it, you take it patiently. “This is acceptable unto God for in hereunto were ye called.” The calling part of it has to do with your patience under pressure. That is the experience to which God has called you.

Oh incidentally, this word ‘servants’ is a word that, that means a domestic in the house. There is no job I suppose, as wearying, as being a servant in a household. You have to be up before the family, you have to prepare the meals, you have to take care of the little baby and see to the removable seat covers on the little chassis, you have to see that the house is clean and shining, you have to go do the shopping, you have to act sometimes as a chauffeur and take the small fry here and there to Scout meetings and, and music lessons, so on. It’s a wearing job, isn’t it? Many of you who listen to me have written, telling me that you’re in that exact position.

“Well,” he said, “servants, if you’re a domestic,” — actually the, the Greek word means ‘a servant in the house. “If you’re a servant in the house, then you’d be subject to your masters.” Well we’ve expanded it, haven’t we? And we say, “Employees, be subject to your bosses, with all fear. Not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward, the people who are absolutely impossible. “For this is thankworthy, if a man per consciousness toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully…” When you do well and suffer for it, if you take it patiently see, you recall to the… Why don’t we get back to this matter of being called to patience under pressure. It’s quite a subject.

Dear Father, today make us patient under pressure, I pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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